Growing Sprouts Easily

Sprouting Seeds - #6 Ready to Eat

Sprouting seeds is really nothing to shy away from. Once you have the few supplies that you need to sprout seeds easily and effectively, the few minutes a day it takes to grow sprouts is well worth the effort for the nourishment and eating pleasure they can provide.

Here’s what you need:

1. Sprouting seeds of your choice – some of our favorite are mung, or a mix of alfalfa, radish and broccoli seeds. It is easier to sprouts seeds of a similar size, so that they are all ready at the same time, and you don’t risk some of them rotting. However, once you have some experience, you will find that it is possible to successfully sprout seeds of varying sizes. Of course, you can always have more than one jarful growing at the same time, with smaller seeds in one, and larger seeds in another.  You can combine them when you are preparing your food to eat.

2. A wide-mouthed jar with a sprouting screen top – I use a quart jar, and a plastic screw-on sprouting screen lid. I got the lid at a local natural foods store. You can also order them online.

2. A cloth to cover the jar for the first day or two.

STEPS TO FOLLOW:

Sprouting Seeds - #1 Soaking

1. Soak seeds for 3-4 hours (smaller seeds) or 6-8 hours (larger seeds) in 4 parts water to 1 part seed. Use warm (not hot) clean unchlorinated water.

Generally you will find that 3 Tablespoons of seed is a good amount to grow in a quart jar.

Sprouting Seeds - #2 Rinse and Drain

2. Rinse and drain the seeds several times initially. I take the lid off to fill the jar with room temperature water, then put the lid back on and gently swirl water around in the jar. Make sure that seeds are not all clumped together on the side of the jar as you are draining them.  They should be spread out fairly evenly. Sprouts should be rinsed and drained 2-3 times each day.

Sprouting Seeds - #3 Cover While Inverted

3. Leave the jar inverted with air flowing into it.  I use a shallow ceramic bowl, and lean the inverted jar on the wall, with an inch or two of space between the screened jar lid and the bottom of the bowl. Cover the jar to keep out light until the seed sprouts are well developed (2-3 days).

Sprouting Seeds - #4 Uncover and Continue top Rinse and Drain

4. Once the sprouts are developing, and you have removed the cover, continue to rinse 2-3 times for the next 24-48 hours.  The sprouting time will vary depending on the room temperature and seed mixture.

 

Sprouting Seeds - #5 Ready to Clean

5. When the sprouts are well-developed, gently move them to a large bowl of cool water, separate the clumps, let the hulls float to the surface, and skim those off. Doing this will make the sprouts even tastier, and keep them from fermenting or rotting for a longer time.

Sprouting Seeds - #6 Ready to Eat

6. Refrigerate the well-drained sprouts in a plastic bag or glass or plastic container. Sprouts are best fresh and used within 2-3 days.

 

 

Sprouts have been eaten for thousands of years, and provide a wide variety of nutrients with very few calories.  You may be interested in this science of sprout nutrition resource page for more information.

There are other methods for sprouting, utilizing various sprouters that are on the market. I have used many different kinds over the years, and have returned to this method both for its simplicity and minimal space requirement. However, if this does not meet your needs, just do a websearch for sprouters and you are sure to find something that will work well for you.

Preserving Food without Losing Nutrients

Our sauerkraut adventures continue here at home. In a previous post on Making Cultured Vegetables, we mention a few of the benefits of eating cultured veggies (adding valuable probiotics and enzymes to your body, which help stamp out Candida, boost your immune system and curb your cravings for sweets.)

If you have more interest in fermentation as a way of preserving foods, you might really enjoy a video with Sandor Katz on The Art of Fermentation. It is based on the book with that title, published by Chelsea Green.

Share with our readers what your interest and experience is with fermenting foods.

Moringa – The Miracle Tree

Here’s a good example of a medicinal plant that grows really well in hot, dry climates. The seeds are full of oil for cooking, cosmetics, or lubrication. The presscake – the stuff that’s left over after pressing the seed – is used for water purification. The leaves have lots of vitamin A. Moringa is rich in a wide variety of nutrients and anti-oxidant compounds, in potent amounts. Moringa, which grows well in Hardiness Zones 9 and 10, might help alleviate hunger and nutritional imbalances in those places where the plant would thrive.

Consider that all over the world plants are quietly growing, offering food that truly nourishes and sustains humans. What is growing in your bioregion that you don’t recognize as food? What used to grow abundantly, but has been discouraged from thriving because it is seen as a “weed” or a “nuisance?” Which native plants could be reintroduced, or, if they’re still around, could be nurtured to grow, and be rediscovered as a plant with great value for both humans and the larger ecosystem? Look again!

Dinner is a Date with the Doctor: 5 Asian Superfoods by Mark Hyman, MD

fresh IngredientsHere is an excerpt from an article written by Mark Hyman, MD. Mark is a physician, advocate and educator “dedicated to identifying and addressing the root causes of chronic illness through a groundbreaking whole-systems medicine approach called Functional Medicine.”

On his website, DrHyman.com, Mark states that “the fork is your most powerful tool to change your health and the planet; food is the most powerful medicine to heal chronic illness.” As a holistic nutritionist with a Food and Wellness Coaching practice, I surely agree.

The article begins:

Medicine doesn’t always come in a pill. In fact some of the most powerful medicines are delicious and can be found at your local supermarket or “farmacy.” Healing foods have been used for centuries in Asia as part of the cuisine. In Asia food and medicine are often the same thing.

Here are five foods you may never have heard of but can be found at most Asian markets and even places like Whole Foods. Try them. You might be surprised by their unique and extraordinary good taste. And they may help you lose weight, reverse diabetes, read more…

Cultured Veggie Success

Cabbage HeadsRecently we made sauerkraut, following the instructions on our Making Cultured Veggies blogpost. We started with some fresh, sweet green head cabbage bought at a local store. We added purple cabbage and grated carrots to this first batch, along with a capsule of a full-spectrum probiotic (optional).

 

Packing the Jars

We packed the jars, per instructions on that blogpost …..in our own style!  We had fun making a mess! It doesn’t have to be perfect…..

What we will do differently next time is leave about 3 inches at the top of the jar, and put in a bit more brine before covering it with a cabbage leaf. As the liquid slowly seeps into the veggies, if you don’t have enough liquid to keep them covered, you will end up spooning off more of the discolored kraut.  No big deal…..just less finished kraut to eat!

 

 

Sauerkraut in JarsThe taste is tangy and sweet….. and feels so nourishing.  This is one economical way to maintain a balance of friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract.

We are pleased with our results, and look forward to making more soon.

Give it a try, & tell us about your results!

Rosehips

RosehipsFall and the rosehips are ready for picking!

Rose hips are the edible and nutritious fruit of the rose plant.  Rose hips are rich in Vitamin C, A, D and E, iron and flavonoids. They also contains essential fatty acids which are involved in tissue regeneration and retinoic acid, supporting skin rejuvenation and healing of skin damage.  Rose hip tea can also soothe the nervous system and relieve exhaustion.

The vitamin content of the hips varies depending on the species, the growing environments, climate, manner of harvest, and the care taken in drying and storage. The hips of roses grown in cooler climates have been found to have a higher content of vitamin C.

The Practical Herbalist website gives some useful information on harvesting and storing rosehips.